10- Tricep kickback
How to do it: Place one hand and one leg on a bench and bend over. Hold the dumbbell with a 90 degree bend in your elbow, your arm should touch your side and the dumbbell should be just in front of your leg. Straighten the elbow backwards until your arm is straight, then slowly lower the weight back to the start position.
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Why it’s good: This is a good isolation exercise to include at the end of your workout. It works the tricep muscles which are vital in functional movement. It also doesn’t hurt to pair this with a bicep curl between sets.
9- Lateral raise
How to do it: Take a dumbbell in each hand and place your hands at your hips. Then move both arms in a straight line away from you until your body forms a T. If you want to get maximum range of motion continue until your hands are above your head, make sure you got a good grip first.
Why it’s good: There aren’t a lot of good shoulder exercises out there, this is a good one because it targets the anterior, medial and posterior deltoids all at once, where as many other exercises taget one or two in isolation.
8- 1 ArmRow
How to do it: Place 1 arm and 1 leg on a bench and have a dumbell lying beside that bench. Take the weight with your free hand and lift it until your elbow is a 90 degree angle. While lifting focus on pulling your shoulder blades together to engage the Trapezius and Rhombiod muscles.
Why it’s good: This is a great exercise because it targets 2 large muscles and 1 small one all simultaneously. The more muscle you engauge it once the more calories you will burn and the more growth hormone and testosterone you will release which make your muscles stronger.
7- Pec fly
How to do it: Lie face-up on a bench with weights in your hands. Extend your arms out in front of you and lower then on each side. You want your elbow ideally to be 179 degrees. Don’t make your arms completely straight because you will likely lock out your elbows and you will injure yourself. Then lift the weights back up above you.
Why it’s good: The Pectoralis major (or chest) muscle is a big calorie torcher, it is essential to target your chest if you want to burn calories or build muscle. Just don’t forget to balance it by targeting upper back with the same number or exercises.
6- Chest press
How to do it: Think bench press, but with dumbbells. Lying face-up on a bench with a weight in each hand, elbows bent at 90 degrees press upward until your arms are straight and above you, then slowly lower them down.
Why it’s good: This exercise also targets the Pectoralis major muscle, but also targets the triceps too, and as opposed to the bench press you also need to balance each weight evenly, which isn’t an issue with the bar.
5- Boxer hooks
How to do it: With a weight in each hand stand straight up and take a step back with one leg. Now throw a hook in the typical circular pattern. While throwing the punch twist your core in the direction of the hook, that rotation is key.
Why it’s good: This is great for aerobics as well as resistance training by continuously throwing punches. In addition I want you to try something right now.
Hold your arms up and form a T shape with your body then rotate side to side. Do you notice how your core tightens up as you reach a certain point in the range of motion? This happens because the core isn’t meant to contract like the other muscles (not that it can’t, it certainly can).
The core’s main job is actually resisting rotation, extension and side flexion. When working the core it is best to do exercises that force the core to resist one of those movements, rather than doing something like sit-ups which are a concentric contraction. This is why boxer hooks are so great because your core will resist the rotation at it’s end range and bring you back to the starting position.
4- Push-up-row combo
How to do it: Place the dumbbells on the floor about shoulder with apart and grab them with your hands, extend your legs behind you and do a push-up. Once you return to the up position of the push-up bring one arm up to your armpit and pull your shoulder blades together, balancing on the other weight. Bring the weight back down and then lift the other dumbbell.
Why it’s good: With this exercise you are targeting what is called an agonist-antagonist group. An agonist-antagonist groups is a group of muscles that do the opposite job of the other.
For example in this exercise the push-up targets the Pectoralis major and the Triceps while the row targets the Trapezius, Rhomboids and biceps. By targeting agonist-antagonist groups you are balancing your body’s mechanics and burning a lot of calories.
3- Lunge-bicep curl combo
How to do it: Take a step forward and bend your knee until it barely obstructs your view of your toes. Your front toes should be pointed forwards, your back should be straight and both knees should be at a 90 degree angle with the back toes balancing all the weight of your back foot (this should be no more than 30% of your total body weight).
While descending into the lunge, do a bicep curl by bending both elbows as far as they can go.
Why it’s good: Doing bicep curls by themselves are a waste of time. The biceps don’t burn a lot of calories, and doing them doesn’t release muscle building hormones. Remember to release the most growth hormone and testosterone you want to engage as much muscle as possible.
The Lunge however engages the Quadriceps and glutes which are very large muscles, and adding in a bicep curl to the mix doesn’t hurt, plus it gives those muscle heads a way of getting in their curls without wasting their time. If you’re a muscle head, don’t be offended, I’m one too.
How to do it: Pick up the weights and rest them against your lower thighs. Your knees should be bent your back should be straight or slightly U shaped and you should be looking ahead. Slowly straighten your knees with the weights touching your legs the whole time, when the weights cross your knees change the movement so the motion comes from your hips.
You should be straightening out your body by moving your hips forward and everything should be aligning. Coming down bend at the hips first and then when the weight crosses your knees bend your knees until the weight touch the ground.
Why it’s good: The deadlift is the secret sauce of power lifters. It is a major calorie burning exercises and it one of the best exercises for building muscle. Although the deadlift is typically done with a bar there is no reason not to use dumbbells as an alternative.
I should however warn you this exercise is a higher risk exercise than any of the previous ones I’ve mentioned. I recommend getting a personal trainer to critique your form when you first try the deadlift.
1-Bicep curl-squat-shoulder press combo
How to do it: Do a bicep curl the same way we mentioned previously, squat down with your feet pointed forward, back straight looking dead ahead, rise and then push the weights up above your head.
Why it’s good: Remember how I said to engage as much muscle as possible? Only 1 exercise comes to mind that uses as much muscle as this one and that is the Clean. If you are interested in the Clean feel free to check out my article on power lifting.
But talking about the Bicep curl-squat-shoulder press combo, this exercise engages the biceps, quadriceps, glutes, triceps and all three shoulder muscles all in a single exercise. This is great for burning calories and building muscle. Also if you want to make it easier do the bicep curl on the way down and the shoulder press on the way up, the momentum of the squat makes it easier to lift.